The Type 51A was a further development of the Type 35s and the car in this article was delivered to London in 1926 as a Type 39A. The Type 39 was in fact a Type 35C with a modified engine. The shorter-stroked crankshaft brought stroke down from 88 mm. to 66 mm. resulting in a 1493 cc engine capacity, a mix of regular and ball bearings were used. Just ten Types 39 were produced. At the factory in Mulsanne this car was converted from a Type 39A into a Type 51A (chassis 51142 No: 15). It was purchased by Henry Dale in Paris in 1951 from the first owner in a disassembled state and then shipped to Peter Dale in Melbourne Australia. I gather the car was re-assembled in Melbourne but I have no record of it being run in any events other than at the Easter Bathurst in 1951 driven by Lynden Duckett. Peter Dale then set about its rebuild by organizing a team of well known enthusiasts to undertake the work which included Lyndon Duckett, Earl Davey-Milne and Bob Baker. Dacre Stubbs photographed many of the 'Dale' cars that came to Australia in this period including the re-construction of the Bugatti with chassis 51142 No.15. Further information about this Bugatti is documented in the book written by Bob King 'Bugattis in Australasia' and it now resides in the French National Automobile Museum.
Charlie Dean became involved with racing after the wartime. He wanted to build his own racing car and the first thing to do was find a suitable engine. A friend who owned a war surplus wrecking yard had a ‘Demag’ half-track armoured personnel carrier which was powered by a Maybach 6 cylinder 3.8 litre SOHC, cross flow engine.
From Martin Stubbs ©